The rumors, in part, stem from the fact that Michael dated a man who was HIV positive. In the 1990s, Michael engaged in a relationship with a dress designer named Anselmo Feleppa, who had HIV. A couple of years after meeting, Feleppa passed away from an AIDS-related disease. Michael’s single “Jesus to a Child” is a tribute to the designer.
One of the reasons Michael was afraid to come out as gay stems back to the AIDS scare of the 80’s and 90’s. “Because it’s about family,” he told the BBC, which you can watch in the above video. “In the years when HIV was a killer, any parent of an openly gay person was terrified. I knew my mother well enough that she would spend everyday praying that I didn’t come across that virus. She’d have worried like that.”
Many of Michael’s fans were quick to defend him via Twitter:
Michael was charged with a “lewd act” after being arrested as part of a sting operation in Beverly Hills, which ultimately led him to come out as being gay.
Michael was by himself and an officer observed the “lewd act” and arrested him.
While the officer wouldn’t reveal if Michael had exposed himself, he stated that “he was aware he was being observed. We believe Michael knew there was another individual who has walked into the bathroom and was aware of his presence,” according to Independent.
Though Michael was not the specific target for the sting operation, the investigation was launched after there were reports of “lewd acts” at parks frequented by families and children.
The star pleaded no contest to the charge and was fined $810 and sentenced to 80 hours of community service, The Guardian reported.
After his arrest, he admitted to CNN that he was indeed gay, People reported.
“For some strange reason, my gay life didn’t get easier when I came out. Quite the opposite happened, really,” Michael told the BBC. He continued:
The press seemed to take some delight that I previously had a ‘straight audience,’ and set about trying to destroy that. And I think some men were frustrated that their girlfriends wouldn’t let go of the idea that George Michael just hadn’t found the ‘right girl’ [yet]. Which is still what a lot of my extended family still think!
Michael “passed away peacefully at home,” his publicist told the BBC.
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Michael’s death. Thames Valley Police confirmed an ambulance arrived at his home in Goring, Oxfordshire at 13:42 GMT. While police only said that he died peacefully, Michael faced health scares, including a battle with pneumonia in 2011.
Police later told The Hollywood Reporter that Michael’s death was “unexplained but not suspicious.” Their statement read:
Thames Valley Police were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2pm Christmas Day. Sadly, a 53-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene. At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. A post mortem will be undertaken in due course. There will be no further updates from Thames Valley Police until the post mortem has taken place.